, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 18 – Regional lawyers have now asked International Criminal Court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to launch investigations for potential crimes against humanity being committed in Burundi.
The lawyers, under their regional bar association, the East Africa Law Society, says Burundi continues to suffer widespread and systematic murders, torture and enforced disappearance of people since President Pierre Nkurunziza was announced winner of a disputed presidential election in July.
In a letter to Bensouda, the lawyers complain that despite the government of Burundi imposing a ban on the media, the association has continued to receive gruesome pictures of bodies of people killed and dumped on the streets of the capital city Bujumbura.
“It is upon this platform, and in accordance with Articles 15 and 54 of the Rome Statute which empowers the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to conduct investigations propio motu on the basis of information on possible crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, that we call on the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to commence investigations into possible commission of crimes against humanity by the government of the Republic of Burundi against its citizens,” reads the letter.
The lawyers have accused the Burundi Government of executing its citizens while quoting information from both national and international organisations operating in Burundi.
“Madam Prosecutor, considering that the International Criminal Court has committed to ensuring that the most serious crimes of international concern should not go unpunished; and that the perpetrators of these crimes should be held accountable through a combination of national and international mechanisms,” they pointed out.
“It is the hope of the East Africa Law Society that your office shall immediately initiate investigations into the ongoing potential crimes against humanity being committed in the Republic of Burundi, and ensures that those complicit or culpable are held to account.”
The volatile situation in the country has led to thousands of refugees fleeing Burundi to the neighbouring countries of Rwanda and Tanzania.
On Thursday, Washington’s envoy to the United Nations complained that the international body was not doing enough to address the worsening crisis in Burundi.